– Welcome to this songwriting workshop. This is Ari Hest. I’m Chrissi Poland. – (mumbles). – We are songwriters. We are professional musicians. This is what we do for a living and we’re here to share some of what we do with you guys today. So if it’s cool with you, we thought we’d start by playing you guys a song of our own. So, Ari’s gonna play a song that he wrote, I’m gonna play a song that I wrote and we’re gonna go from there. Is that cool if we start that way? (Audience Agrees) – [Man] Are you guys cool with recordings? – Yes. – Please, yeah, for sure. – That’s what that camera’s for. It’s all exposed. Yeah, that’s fine. ♪ Dead end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ We don’t know what we’re headed for ♪ ♪ Like lighters flicking off sparks ♪ ♪ We’ve been counting on a little more ♪ ♪ Dead end working every day ♪ ♪ Wondering how I’m gonna get through ♪ ♪ And the time will come
when we don’t wanna play ♪ ♪ Along just to make do ♪ ♪ Well I don’t know what you want ♪ ♪ I don’t know what you want ♪ ♪ We’ve been dead end
driving in the dark ♪ ♪ Tell me how we gonna make a mark ♪ ♪ My philosophy ♪ ♪ New ways that I have found ♪ ♪ To see things that I’ve not seen ♪ ♪ They’re bright enough
to turn me around ♪ ♪ Surely it’s a waste to think ♪ ♪ That someone’s gonna carry us out ♪ ♪ Mmm ♪ ♪ Dead end working every day ♪ ♪ And now we’re gonna get through ♪ ♪ And the time will come
when we don’t wanna play ♪ ♪ Along just to make do ♪ ♪ Yeah I don’t know what you want ♪ ♪ No I don’t know what you want ♪ ♪ Well we’ve been dead
end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ Tell me how we gonna make a mark ♪ ♪ My philosophy ♪ ♪ New ways that I have found ♪ ♪ To see things I have not seen ♪ ♪ Bright enough to turn me around ♪ ♪ Surely it’s a waste to think ♪ ♪ That someone’s gonna carry us out ♪ ♪ Carry us out ohh ♪ ♪ Dead end driving ♪ ♪ Dead end driving ♪ ♪ We don’t know what
we’re headed for, no ♪ ♪ We are dead end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ Dead end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ And it ain’t no way ♪ ♪ Ain’t no way to make a mark ♪ ♪ We are dead end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ Dead end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ And it ain’t no way ♪ ♪ Ain’t no way to make a mark ♪ ♪ It ain’t no way ♪ ♪ Ain’t no way to make a mark, no ♪ ♪ It ain’t no way ♪ ♪ Ain’t no way to make a mark ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Oh-Ohh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Whoa oh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Whoa oh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Uh-Huh ♪ ♪ Whoa oh ♪ (applause and whistling) Thank you. Did you guys get sheets? Okay, cool. – Welcome guys. – Yes, I’m Ari, this is Chrissi. We just started. I just played one of my songs. She’s gonna do one of hers now and we’ll kind of get started after that but Chrissi’s gonna go from here. – All right. ♪ In every beating
heart there is a story ♪ ♪ A secret sanctuary of a life ♪ ♪ Keeping watch on all
the lives before me ♪ ♪ And hold to the light ♪ ♪ Everyone’s a stranger
till you say hello ♪ ♪ I’m so glad you said hello to me ♪ ♪ ‘Cause in your eyes I
see my future’s brighter ♪ ♪ So here will be ♪ ♪ It will be ♪ ♪ I was living in the dark ♪ ♪ Hope scattered and gone ♪ ♪ The light was lost ♪ ♪ You turned me around ♪ ♪ And aimed me toward the dawn ♪ ♪ What’s the use in
hiding from the moment ♪ ♪ All that ever gets you is nowhere ♪ ♪ And in the end you
wonder was it useful ♪ ♪ Can you take me there ♪ ♪ Someday when I’m gone
someone might miss me ♪ ♪ I hope they throw a party in my name ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I’ll be out among
the stars just dancing ♪ ♪ You do the same ♪ ♪ Do the same ♪ ♪ I was living ♪ ♪ In the dark ♪ ♪ Hope scattered and gone ♪ ♪ The light was lost,
you turned me around ♪ ♪ And aimed me toward the dawn ♪ ♪ If there’s a cloud
of the silver lining ♪ ♪ I’m full of doubt but
you still believed ♪ ♪ We all want to go where
the sun is shining ♪ ♪ Before you it was so hard ♪ ♪ To consider I was living ♪ ♪ In the dark ♪ ♪ My hope scattered and gone ♪ ♪ The light was lost ♪ ♪ You turned me around ♪ ♪ And aimed me toward the dawn ♪ ♪ The light was lost ♪ ♪ You turned me around ♪ ♪ And aimed me toward the dawn ♪ (applause) Thanks guys. So those are two examples of songs that each of us wrote as songwriters independently on our own. We write songs together also when we can. Co-writing is a very cool thing. But just to get us started, does everybody have one of these? Yeah, you need one. – How many of you guys
have written songs before? Okay good. – Awesome. Yeah, and who’s brand new to songwriting, just getting started? Right on. – That’s all right. – That’s great. All right, so check it out. We wrote a bunch of
things down on this page that we just wanna go through with you and as we go, we’re gonna give examples and we wanna throw it back to you. It’s an open conversation. If anything comes to
your mind at any point while we’re talking, please ask. Raise your hand, shout it out, whatever it is, this is
just an open conversation for the whole entire time. All right cool, so just
starting with part one, right? How do you get started? For those of you who have
written songs before, give us some examples. How do you get started? Shout something out. What’s the first thing you do? – [Woman] Start writing. – Say it again? [Woman] Start writing. – That’s right, start writing. Yes sir? – [Man] Record it. – Yes, record it. Make a voice memo of it. Great, what else? How do you start? Yes? – [Man] Usually before I start writing I kind of find a concept. – Yep, love it, great. – [Man] Since I have no musical talent, I usually fish for some kind of music or something to write to. – Now what do you mean by that? What do you mean you
have no musical talent? – [Man] I don’t know how
to play any instruments. – Okay, that doesn’t mean you don’t have musical talent, though. I know what you’re saying though. So you do it on computer? Do you like, make a beat, or– – [Man] I phish on the
internet, SoundCloud, or Bandcamp, or listen to other people’s musical composures an write on theirs. – Yep, good, cool, awesome, right on. Somebody else raising their hand? Yes? – [Woman] I get inspiration
from other people, either artists or my friends and stuff and then ask for opinions. – That’s great. Ari and I do the same thing. – Yeah, I mean, I think
one of the points here is that there’s a lot of different ways to come up with the beginnings of a song. Everybody has a different way. I personally, generally what happens to me is I’ll get an idea for a melody first more than anything else. I come from a musical family. Some of you may know my father
was a professor for a bit. The first thing that usually comes to mind for a song for me is something that just kind of comes to my head, like a two second vocal line or something, doesn’t have words yet. But everybody’s different. Some people write down lyrics first and they worry about the music later. Some people do it all at once. You can do it a lot of different ways. – Yeah, so the whole point of it is exactly what Ari was just saying, and what a lot of you have
thrown out there to us already, is there’s no, this is
how you have to do it, this is how you have to get started. You’re an artist, you’re the creator, so you do whatever works for you and when you find that vibe, whatever works for you, that’s your vibe. That’s what you stay with. So whatever it is that works
for you to get started, you wanna stick with that. On this sheet here, we
wrote down something called brain dumping. That’s literally like,
let your brain open up and dump out. Don’t judge your ideas. Don’t judge your thoughts. Record them, write them
down, whatever it is, just get it out first, you know? Dump it all out first and
you can edit it from there. That’s a great way to start. – And specifically with that, the first thing that
comes out of your brain, at least in my experience
when it comes to songwriting, you know, maybe that first melody idea, like I said, if I come up
with something in my head, the first melody, it might be good, but what comes out after that, you know, the first draft of everything, is usually not very good. It’s usually like, I just
haven’t quite captured how to fit the melody with the lyric or there’s just something off about it and if you’re not careful and you’re not confident in your ability to through time get to the point where the
song is going to be good, you might just be like, you know what? This idea sucks and I’m gonna
go watch TV or something else, like this is not working. So you have to have confidence,
like Chrissi is saying, once you have an idea on
paper or on a voice memo or whatever, even if it’s bad, you know that you’re gonna
be able to re-work it. – Exactly, it’s like
you’re allowing your brain to just open up and
let the stuff come out, whether it’s good or bad, you’re giving yourself that freedom. If you start judging yourself
and judging your ideas before they even have a
chance to develop yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. You might be missing out
on some incredible thing that’s gonna take a week
or a month or a year to develop. So what we’re trying to tell you is let it all come out at
first, don’t judge it. If you don’t love it at
first, yeah, go watch TV. Go do something, go hang out, whatever. Come back to it. But let it all come out first. All the great, creative
minds of the world will agree that everyone as an artist or a creator is judgmental of their own
stuff right off the bat. How many times do you create something and you’re like, this is
no good, so forget it, and you just forget about it, right? I’m super guilty of that. We do that all the time. It’s also a great idea
to bounce these ideas off of other people. There are examples all over music history and the music business of
some of the most popular songs ever recorded, where the
artist thought it was terrible and another artist or a
record executive said, no, I think this is good
and it went on to sell 40 million copies or something. They have stories all
over the music business. You never know, give it a chance, okay? So the next thing we have on the paper is, can you create a movie for your listener in three minutes or so? I’m giving the three minute example– – Well pop songs tend to be … You don’t have to write pop songs, but pop songs tend to be
I guess in the range of two minutes and thirty
seconds to four minutes or somewhere in there. And we’ll get to the sort of pop formulas as we go on today, but you know, creating a movie … You probably have certain thoughts on how to create images that you wanna share. – Yeah, we’re gonna get to this, but it’s everything from the music, the melody, and the lyrics, right? All those three things
when they’re working together in synergy, the
listener should be able to visually as well as audibly see this movie going on in the mind. That’s what we wanna create for somebody. That’s the goal. So how do we do that? That’s what we’re gonna be getting to. Right now I just wanna
throw it out to you guys really quick since we’re
gonna talk about … Ari was just talking about pop music, but there’s so many
different styles of music. What are some styles of
music that everybody here is writing? Just throw some out, I wanna
put them up on the board. – [Man] Blues. – Blues, love it, what else? – [Man] Hip Hop. – Hip Hop, great. – [Man] Electronic. – Electronic. – [Man] Hard Rock or metal. – Yeah, I’m gonna put
EDM under electronic. You said progrock? – [Man] Progressive. – Yeah, I love it. – [Man] R & B. – What else? – [Woman] Metal. – Hell yeah. – [Man] Rock on, sister. – Say again? – [Man] Pop. – That’s right. Pop, it’s funny. Like through the decades,
through the generations, pop is like the mysterious category that can be any one of these
categories at any time. If we talk about the 60’s,
pop was something else. If we talk about the 70’s,
it was something else. The 90’s. Five years ago compared to know. It’s always shifting, so
pop is a mysterious category that’s really cool to get into. That’s great, any other styles
that people are writing in? – [Man] Rock. – Right on. Country. – [Man] Alternative. – [Man] Psychedelic. – Yes. – [Man] Jazz. – Thank you. Okay, what else am I missing? – [Man] Funk. – Yeah, funk! – [Man] Alternative. – Alternative, yes. – [Man] Bluegrass. – Yep. – [Man] Did you guys to the song– – Say again? – [Man] Do you know a
song, The Trouble With Us? – The Trouble With Us, who’s that by? – [Man] ♪ I got the trouble with us ♪ – It sounds familiar. Who’s it by? – [Man] Nevermind, I’ll get back to it. – We’ll look it up. Thank God for the internet. – [Man] I thought you would know. – What other styles? Any other styles that we’re writing in or we’re thinking about writing? – [Woman] Folk rock. – Sure thing. Anybody else? No, all right, I’m gonna throw it up here. Classical. – [Man] Oh reggae, reggae. – Yeah. Flamenco, right. Good. That’s a lot of genre’s in music. All right, so if I go across
the board just real quick because this is fun, it sparks ideas, it sparks inspiration. Funk artists that we’re feeling? Say again? Yes. – [Woman] Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix can fall
under many categories, everything from jazz to
rock to fusion to funk, psychedelic of course. – [Man] George Clinton. – George Clinton, that’s right. – [Man] Earth, Wind, and Fire. – Thank you, Earth, Wind, and Fire, yes. Also falling under many categories. Earth, Wind, and Fire was everything from pop to jazz to R & B. Of course there’s so
many different things. Stevie Wonder, same
thing, across the board, every category, including country music, including world music,
Stevie can fall under. It’s amazing. How about, if we’re going to rock, who are the kings of rock? – [Man] Linkin Park. – Okay, Linkin Park, that’s
a great contemporary example. – [Man] Zeppelin. – Zeppelin. – [Man] AC/DC. – That’s right. We just lost Lemmy. Lemmy was from Motorhead, right? Who else? – [Man] Kiss. – Kiss, yes. – [Man] Beatles. – [Woman] Elvis. – Great, yes. Elvis also a genre crosser. Let’s go to R & B. Who’s the king of R & B? Whitney said it was Bobby Brown, but I would beg to differ. – [Man] R. Kelly. – R. Kelly’s one, yeah. – [Woman] Michael Jackson. – Michael Jackson, great. King of pop also. – [Woman] Boyz 2 Men. – Yeah, hello. – [Man] Oh yeah. – So good. – [Man] Mary J. Blige. – Yes, Mary J. Blige. Now let’s take it back. Those are great contemporary examples. Let’s take it back. Marvin Gaye, I’m gonna say. Who else? – [Woman] Macy Gray. – Great. Great crossover too. Jazz and pop, but she was R & B. She had all kinds of things going on. Very interesting artist. How about if we go to hip hop? Who are the original kings of hip hop? – [Woman] Run DMC. – Run DMC, yep, who else? – [Man] Biggie Smalls. – [Man] KRS-One. – Yes. – [Man] Big Daddy Kane. – Yep, Big Daddy Kane. – [Woman] Ice Cube. – Yes, Ice Cube. NWA. – [Woman] 2PAC. – 2PAC, Biggie, all those guys. – [Man] Rakhim. – Yep. – [Man] Jay-Z. – Jay-Z, Rakhim, yeah, all great contemporary
and early examples too. Nas, great example. Are we including Kanye in this? – [Woman] No. (laughing) – Thank you guys. (laughing) – [Woman] We can put him under other. – He can be tucked away under that, like, we don’t talk about that category. Okay cool, all right, just a couple more because it gets the thoughts going here. If we’re gonna go to alternative– – [Woman] Green Day. – Green Day, great. What else? – [Man] Kings of Leon. – [Man] Fu Fighters. – Yep, Fu Fighters, great. Kings of Leon, cool. – [Man] Coldplay. – Yeah, Coldplay could be that. It could also cross into pop as well. They had some major pop success. We could talk about
Nirvana being alternative. – [Man] Fall Out Boy. – Fall Out Boy, very cool. – One of the things you’ll
notice that Chrissi is saying is there’s a lot of bands that fall into a lot of different categories and a lot of that actually has to do, not as much with the writing of the song as the production. The instrumentation on the recordings and also what they do live. If you put a slide guitar on a song that’s normally a pop song, all of a sudden it could sort of go into the country world, or folk. If you put, what else, like– – Yeah, if you put, you know, an electronic, you know, 808 kind of beat on what maybe was just a
straight ahead pop song, it might have a little bit
more of an R & B flavor or a emotioning baseline. – But at it’s core, the song itself doesn’t really quite have
a genre yet, you know? It kind of remains to be seen. – And that is a great example of a mark of a really good song. A really good song could be done in any of these ways and sometimes you’ll hear a
song that a country artist did, but then this pop artist did it, but then this old school
jazz guy did it too. That’s a mark of a great song. We’re gonna get to stuff like that. Those are all really, really
great examples, you guys. – [Woman] How about like when two artists from different genres cross together, like Nelly and Tim McGraw did. That song was good. – Yeah, that’s a really interesting thing that artists do, I think also, to keep what they’re doing fresh because if a country artist is just like, okay, I’m just known for
this, this is what I do, and then a hip hop artist
or an R & B artist is like, okay, this is what I do, I go for this, and they bring their forces together, in the music business, they
are going to be able to do cross radio genres,
they’re gonna be able to cross over into different
listening audiences. It’s gonna expand their career. So, it’s a good creative move and it can be a good
business move as well. And of course, as you guys know, the big line that divides, there’s music, and then
there’s the music business and they are very different things. We can talk all about that
too as time has gone on. Up until this point, do
you have any questions that we can answer for you? Cool, all right, so lets
go onto writing music. We just talked about the
style you’re writing in. Those are some great examples. So let’s talk a little
bit about song form. Ari and I just played a song of our own, so let us tell you a little bit about the forms of those songs, when you’re kind of
creating, what is the form. – [Man] The KISS factor? – Say it again? – [Man] The KISS factor. – Oh, you wanna know what that is, right. I skipped that, thank you. Anybody know what that means? – [Everyone] Keep it simple, stupid. – Holla! Yeah, that’s right (laughs). You can replace that
with sweetie or whatever if you don’t wanna be
mean, but yes, that it is. Keep it simple. There are some great songs in the world that are super complicated and I love them, but are you likely to get a cut on the radio with that? Probably not. – I think, yeah, I mean, this
is also a personal preference kind of thing because if
you wanna write for yourself and you don’t care about your audience, you just wanna write
something that appeals to you but it doesn’t matter what the audience, then you can write any
kind of song you want. We’re more focusing today on songs that will appeal to
certain kinds of audiences or maybe lots of different
kinds of audiences and that’s one of the things
you have to think about when you’re about to write a song. What kind of audience do
I want this to appeal to? If I’m writing a folk song, for instance, you may not wanna have
certain musical elements that you would find in something that’s classical or R & B. You wanna sort of focus your attention on those kinds of listeners, the people that might like
Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and people like that. So you have to think about that as you’re writing your song. – Sure, yeah. All right, so getting into the song form, lots of different forms
of a song, you know? And again, there’s no real rules. Whatever you’re doing,
you wanna make it good. So you could have a verse,
chorus, bridge song form. We’ll talk about that. A verse refrain. A verse, a pre-chorus, a chorus. Up to this point, does anybody
have any questions of– – Do you guys know what these terms mean? Verse, chorus, bridge. Does everybody have a pretty
good idea what that means? – Most memorable part of a song, what would you say that would be? – [Man] The chorus. – The chorus. Some people call it the hook. They are interchangeable. Hooks don’t always have to be the chorus, or even the words. It can mean the music,
but we’ll get to that. – Right. – So you want to write an amazing chorus. You want to build something
around the chorus. So can we go back to
the example of your song that you played for us? So Ari’s song is called
Dead End Driving, yeah? – [Man] Do you mind if I voice record? – Oh no, not at all. Go right ahead. Ari’s song is called Dead End Driving and can you play the
first four lines for us? – The very beginning of the
song, this is what I’m playing. (guitar music) Can anybody identify, just from that some sort of musical hook that they hear? Some sort of melody that they, even though I’m not singing yet? – [Man] (imitating melody)
dun dun dun dun dun dun dun. – Right, okay. So that was, for instance for me, that was the first thing that
came to me for this song. That was the thing that
came out of thin air. I wasn’t sitting here with my guitar, I just kind of thought of that. And again, everybody has
a different way to do it. But that’s the first
thing that came to mind and I knew that that was
going to be a musical hook that would come back, not just at the top of the song, but in other places. So I chose to start my song
just with the guitar by itself and then I go ♪ Dead end driving in the dark ♪ ♪ We don’t know what we’re headed for ♪ ♪ Like lighters flicking off sparks ♪ ♪ We’ve been counting on a little more ♪ So I’m constantly reinforcing that hook, going back to it. ♪ Dead end working every day ♪ ♪ Wondering how I’m gonna get through ♪ ♪ A time will come when
we don’t wanna play ♪ ♪ Along just to make do ♪ And then I go somewhere else from there, but that is, you know, in the first 30 seconds of the song, I’ve already done the (mimicking melody) duh
duh duh duh duh duh duh, like five, six times. – We’re like cramming it
down your throat, right? Why is that? Because you’re gonna remember it. – Right, and once I knew
I had something that, and we’ll talk about if
you know your idea’s good, chances are, it’s something
that even without trying, you’re gonna remember
it at least hours later, if not days later, you will
remember that you did that. You don’t need to go back
to your voice recorder and be like, oh yeah, I did that. It’s just like, in your head when you get in the shower in the morning and you’re like, oh, I
remembered that line. That’s when you kind of
know you have something good to work with. – Exactly. I wanna expand upon that example. This is a song of mine that I approached, oddly enough, in a similar … I didn’t know that I was doing this, but this very similar approach
that Ari was talking about, so, here’s how this song starts. (playing piano chords) That’s before I even sing. Do you hear anything in the music in there that’s sort of like a
melody that you remember. – [Man] (mimicking melody)
duh duh duh duh duh duh duh. – Right. – That’s the thing, right? I’m playing that right at the top. That’s the information I’m
giving the listener, right? Here’s my first verse. ♪ I leave the light on
when you are not home ♪ ♪ Somehow it makes me
feel a little less alone ♪ Same thing right? (plays keys of melody) I’m just singing what I played at the top. – A characteristic of both that music hook and my musical hook, what I hear is that they’re pretty simple. They’re pretty universally … People are gonna hear
that even if they’re not necessarily musical people. You were saying that you’re
not, whatever, I mean, you are or you aren’t,
it doesn’t really matter. You kind of know what works
for your ear and what you like. Both of those hooks are, like
when she was talking about with the KISS method, Keep It Simple Stupid, you know, both of us
are capable of writing more complex stuff than that, but it may not appeal to everybody, so what we’re trying to think about when we’re writing the song and when we’re coming up with ideas, is this gonna appeal to a mass audience? Is a five year old who is sitting in this classroom right now gonna be able to go (mimics melody) duh duh
duh duh duh duh duh? And chances are they are
because it’s a simple line and that’s kind of the mark of a good hook is that you’re going to have something that is just recognizable that really anybody at any age and any music ability, they’re gonna know what it is. They’re gonna like hearing it. – Yeah, and you might say to yourself, well, how do you do that? How do you know it’s good? What’s the formula? The thing is that whether
you play instruments or not, just the way the human brain works, the way the ears and the mind work, right? There are certain things
that are attractive to our ears and attractive to our minds and you’ll hear it all over pop music. You’ll hear it all over hooks. It’s tension notes and release notes. It’s certain kinds of
phrases and melodies, but you hear them everywhere. For example, this song
that I just played, right? If I had played you (plays difficult melody) could you sing that back to me? No. – Right, you can kind of catch it, but it doesn’t stick as well. – (plays melody) Right? Cool, that was a lot of notes and okay. – There’s nothing wrong with that. – There’s nothing wrong with it, right. – But if you want to
have an audience that’s more universal, there’s
gonna be more people who are able to identify that, you’re gonna want something
that’s a little simpler. – So if I play (playing melody) does that stick with
you a little bit more? It sticks with me a little bit more. The musical reasons why
aren’t really important, but your ear is gonna tell you. Your brain is gonna tell you like, I can latch onto that a little more. So that’s what we’re looking for. That’s the kind of stuff
that we’re looking for when you’re trying to find your melodies. So we were talking about song forms. So you could start a song with a verse and go into a big chorus, great. You wanna get to your chorus. Don’t let the song go too long without getting to that chorus. You just wanna get to it Does that kind of make sense? A lot of great pop songs
that we can talk about. Somebody throw me out a
great pop song that you like that’s on the radio right now
or just like those big hit, any example you got. – [Woman] Elastic Heart from Sia. – Oh, I don’t know that one that well. – I know Chandelier. – Yeah, give me another one. – [Woman] ♪ I have thick skin ♪ and an elastic heart – Oh yeah, yeah, cool. I don’t know that song that well. – [Man] I can’t feel my face. – I can’t feel my face. – That’s a good example of the first hook you hear in
that song in the melody, even before the ♪ I can’t feel my face when I’m with you ♪ What do you hear before that? – [Woman] Mumbles. – Yeah, yes, and then
it goes, (sings melody). – [Man] It kind of reminds
me of Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, like it already starts. – Absolutely. – That thing, which is a
musical hook right away. – For sure, but when
he goes into that line, that (sings melody), that’s building up, right? It’s coming up, there’s a little tension and a little release, and it’s what? It’s simple. And he repeats it. It sticks with us and then he goes into the chorus– – Which of course is really simple too. (imitates melody). I mean– – Simple, right? It’s got a good beat, all
the elements are there. All right, cool. Does anybody have any more questions before we move on about the song format? Like a verse and a chorus versus a verse-refrain? – Do you guys know what
refrains and bridges are? – [Man] Refrain, can you
elaborate a little more? – Yeah, Fields of Gold is a good example. Do you guys know the song,
Fields of Gold, by Sting? – ♪ You’ll remember me ♪ ♪ when the west wind moves ♪ ♪ upon the fields of barley ♪ You ever hear this? It’s Sting. ♪ You’ll forget the sun ♪ ♪ In his jealous sky ♪ ♪ As we lie in fields of gold ♪ – Second verse. – ♪ Will you stay with me ♪ ♪ Will you be my love ♪ ♪ Among the fields of barley ♪ ♪ We’ll forget the sun ♪ ♪ In his jealous skies ♪ ♪ As we lie in fields of gold ♪ – So each verse ends with– – A refrain. (mimics melody) It’s kind of like a summary, moment at the very end of a bunch of music, like a cycle. – Yeah. – A verse, essentially. – Yeah. – [Woman] It sort of reminds
me of Daughters by John Mayer. Is that kind of like that? – That’s actually a
verse and a chorus song. It’s a verse chorus
because he sings a verse and then he goes into the chorus, which is ♪ Fathers be good to your daughters ♪ This song is basically a bunch of verses and each verse ends with the same tagline, “As we walk in fields of gold.” – Very common in folk music actually, live folk music. – [Man] Could you just
give me two more examples? – Of a verse refrain? – [Man] (mumbles). – Say it again? – [Man] Times They Are A Changing. – Right. – Yeah, that’s a great example. – (mimics melody) ♪ Waters around you (mumbles) ♪ ♪ Sooner or later you’ll
be drenched to the bone ♪ ♪ If your love is worth saving ♪ ♪ Then you’d better start swimming away ♪ ♪ Or you’ll sink like a stone ♪ ♪ Oh the times they are a changing. ♪ – Every verse. – You hear that in that
song, it comes back, ♪ The times they are a changing ♪ like four or five times. Very common in folk music. – It’s really common in folk music. – Four or five verses, maybe even more that just end in a refrain
that’s very singable. (sings melody) – Yes, yes. – [Woman] Would All Along the Watchtower be like that as well? – Um, let’s see. – All Along the Watchtower is a funny one because there
are a lot of verses. – Yeah. It starts with a musical hook. Very identifiable, and so on. But I guess the melody. ♪ All along the watchtower ♪ – Yeah, that song is a bunch of verses, but the name of the chorus is just tucked in the top of a verse. – [Woman] Oh, okay. – Know what I mean? So, it’s interesting. Psychedelic rock is an
interesting style of music because it sort of breaks
a lot of the rules of popular song form. It’s got it’s own set of rules, which makes it sort of psychedelic, which means sort of left of center, like it’s just odd and weird and different and that’s what makes it amazing. – And also, one of the
things about that song that I was just thinking about is that essentially it doesn’t
stray from these chords the whole time. It’s just a lot of variations on this, whether Jimi is soloing over this or singing over it, (mimics singing) whatever he’s playing right? It’s just this the whole way through. It’s like a five minute song or whatever, but he’s going, ♪ All along the watchtower ♪ This is actually a Bob
Dylan song, by the way. – Yep. – [Woman] That’s why I asked,
because it’s a Bob Dylan song? – It is, yes, but in either case, he’s basically doing a
variation on the same three chords. Very simple to understand chords. He’s just cycling through
different variations of the same thing, which is something that you
will often find in pop songs, I mean, there may only be
three chords in pop songs. Very common. – Yeah, something I wanted
to bring up to you guys, it’s a really cool point, I read it in a book by Nile Rodgers. Anybody know who Nile Rodgers is? – [Man] He started Chic. – That’s right, he created Chic and millions of other things
too that we’ll talk about. Who watched the Grammy’s the other night. Did you see Gaga’s
performance with David Bowie? The guitar player that
was playing with her with the white hat, that’s Nile Rodgers. Lots to say about him, but
he talks about in his book, the DHM, the Deep Hidden Meaning, okay? So that’s a really cool
concept that he has. He’s written some great pop
songs, great dance songs. Like, he’s talking about put a deep, hidden meaning in there. Don’t make is so heady with
the music and the lyrics that you can’t relate. The average person, just
the average listener can’t just relate to it. – [Man] Sorry, that abbreviation means deep hidden meaning? – Yes, deep hidden meaning. – [Man] Thank you. – So, for example, a good
song that would follow that that’s a Nile Rodgers song, and his formula was always like, if you want to have a killing pop song, start with the chorus. There’s a lot of great pop songs
that start with the chorus. For example, Good Times. Does anybody know the
song Good Times by Chic? ♪ Good times ♪ ♪ These are the good times ♪ Right? Who knows it? That’s the chorus. ♪ Are the good times ♪ Okay, who sampled that bassline? Yeah, Sugar Hill Gang. – [Man] Queen. – No, close though. We’re gonna get to it. I know what song you’re talking about. We’re gonna get to that song too. Sugar Hill Gang for what song? – [Man] Um, how do I name a song? – You know it. Rappers Delight. – [Man] Yes. – Right, okay, so start with the chorus. That’s another great example of how to get your message across
right from the top. A great chorus is a great
way to start the song. They did that with Good Times. Nile Rodgers did that with We Are Family. Right? ♪ We are family ♪ Yes, Sister Sledge, right? What’s the DHM in that? What’s the deep hidden meaning? It’s a pop song. – [Man] We are a family. – Exactly. We are a family. What a great thing that every human being wants to relate to, right? There is deepness in that. There’s a hidden deep meaning in that and he did that on purpose because he knew that at every wedding and at every party and at every tough time someone was going through, if that song came on, it
was gonna make people feel like they wanted to connect
to other people, right? It’s kind of brilliant. So keep that in mind when
you’re writing your lyrics and you’re writing your melody. It can be fun, it can be dance, it can be whatever, but put some sort of depth in there that’s gonna make people
wanna connect to it. It’s a great, great thing to look for. Okay, so expanding on what
we were just talking about, musical hooks in songs. We’ve just started to talk
a little bit about this. That bassline you were just playing. (playing bassline) Even if you don’t know
the song, you’ve heard it. We know it’s something. Okay so then there’s another song, you brought up a Queen example, right? – [Woman] Another one bites the dust. – This one. Ever hear this? – [Woman] Yeah. – What is it? – [Woman] Ice Ice Baby. – Right, okay? Vanilla Ice and his people stole it from Queen and David Bowie. Under Pressure. Super memorable bassline. – A lot of people have
no idea what song they’re even hearing when they hear that. They’re just like, oh, I know that. It’s just a super
identifiable musical hook, two notes. Very simple, just a little
rhythm and two notes. That’s why keeping it
simple is often times the best way to go to get an audience. – So if you can find these elements when you’re in your writing, a musical hook, a couple
of notes in the bassline, a little piano thing, whatever it is, something that’s simple and
repetitive and memorable, you bring those elements into your song, you’re creating a bigger
palate for your listener to recognize it and keep recognizing it and gravitate towards
it over and over again. – Not to go too far back, but I know you were asking for other
examples of a refrain. I just thought of another one right now. Do you know the Beatles song, Yesterday? ♪ Yesterday ♪ ♪ All my troubles seem so far away ♪ ♪ Now I know nah nah nah here to stay ♪ ♪ Oh I believe in yesterday. ♪ ♪ Suddenly ♪ So it’s all basically
just verse and refrain and then it goes to another section, but the next section, ♪ Why she had to go ♪ That’s not a chorus. That’s not the most identifiable melody. Really the identifiable melody is the ♪ I believe in yesterday ♪ (singing) which is why you
hear it the most in the song. That’s the thing that
he keeps coming back to. That’s the refrain. – Yeah, all right, so let’s
move on a little bit to– – [Woman] Excuse me, I had one question. If you do that verse
refrain, does that mean that there’s not a chorus in those songs? Maybe there’s just a
bridge, but no chorus? – Generally, yeah, I mean, it sort of takes the place of a chorus. I would say that it’s
almost like a mini chorus in itself, the refrain. It might just be a two
or three second long bit, but it is still something that someone’s gonna wind up singing or humming the melody. And then the next section, like Chrissi was about to allude to,
it’s not really a chorus. It’s actually more of a bridge when you think about that in Yesterday, ♪ Why she had to go I don’t know ♪ ♪ She wouldn’t say ♪ It’s almost … That section is in order to get him back to another verse, which is what a bridge really, that’s it’s main goal. – Yeah, I mean, in that song, it’s almost a whole other section in and of itself. Sometimes in songwriting when
they’re breaking it down, they’ll call sections, A-B-A format, or A-B-C, three different sections instead of a verse or a chorus or a verse refrain and I think, for example, another good Paul McCartney
would be Blackbird. – Right. – Blackbird always ends with the … Yeah. ♪ You were only waiting
for this moment to arrive ♪ We’re gonna hear that
several times in the song. There’s other sections in the song, musical sections in the song, that are always kind of roping us back into getting to this again. – There’s a lot of hooks, all over the melody,
especially in that one. – Yeah. – Because you also
remember (singing melody), that’s pretty easy to remember as well, even if you’re not that musical. (singing melody) And then obviously the end of it. ♪ You were only waiting for this moment ♪ Pretty simple line. – Yeah, so having those
hooks all over your song, or as much as you can, it’s great. The more you have them, the better. And they don’t have to be complicated. They’re really simple. The Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, are maybe considered some of the greatest songwriters ever and a lot of what they
wrote was very simple. Super memorable, simple. – [Man] Can I ask, do you
really think it was simple because of the time that they made it? Do you understand what I’m asking? – Sure. – [Man] Like, I think
if you look at it now, I can see how you can say it’s simple, but I don’t think it was
simple when it was done. – Yeah give me an
example of what you mean, like a song maybe you’re thinking of. – [Man] Well I’ll tell you, Sgt. Pepper was not a simple song. – Absolutely, you’re right. I think the Beatles at that point had gotten to a place where they were sick of touring, they couldn’t deal with the audience screaming at them anymore, they wanted to make something
really creative and inventive. – Yeah. – And they kind of went into
a headier place at that time. – Right, but in my opinion, I think maybe what you’re touching
on also is production. – The recording techniques. – That recording, I mean really, Sgt. Pepper is ♪ Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band ♪ That’s not particularly complex in itself, but I think the instrumentation and the way that they
presented those chords, the arrangements were
more particularly unique in that time, which is why– – [Man] That’s (mumbles) coming at. What I’m saying is, because
it never existed before, at that time, that’s why I don’t consider it simple because I consider it complex. – Right, I hear you. – [Man] Because now we’ll hear it as … It’s commonplace people
will take (mumbles) done stuff with it and I’m not a Beatles aficionado. I become one because everybody plays it. (laughing) Everything you’ve played
so far to me is not simple. – I hear you. – [Man] I think of all the Beatles stuff is very complex because
it was the first time it was being done. – Right, well I think what
I would say to that is if I played you, just me and the guitar, the Sgt. Pepper song, and just played it with an arrangement that’s very straightforward,
just the guitar and me … ♪ Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band ♪ ♪ Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh ♪ ♪ Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band ♪ (Mumbling lyrics) So to me it’s like, yes
that was a good song and I think the uniqueness was more about the way they presented those musical ideas and not so much about what
the song would sound like just stripped down to nothing. You know, it kind of goes
back to my earlier point about how you can dress up a song in a lot of different ways with different kinds of instrumentation and
different arrangement ideas, but the difference between
song and arrangement, it’s a huge thing in music
and the music business too. There’s a lot to say about that because there’s many
musical lines in songs that are kind of on the
border of whether they’re technically part of the song
or part of the arrangement. As a songwriter, we both know this, that if you arrange a song, you actually, monetarily it’s not gonna
really make a difference to you if the song gets played on the radio or if the song gets sold in a store, whatever it is. But if you actually write the melody, ♪ Duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh ♪ That is the thing that technically is what makes up the song,
as well as the lyric. If you write the melody and the lyric, those of you who don’t know, that’s really what makes up the song. The arrangement, everything else around it can be amazing and awesome
and super ear catching, but it’s technically not
part of the song itself. Technically it’s a separate
venture altogether. – Mm-hmm, yeah. – [Man] Thank you, thank you both. – I hope I answered that. – [Man] It’s great. I just liked how you know
like 1,000 songs (mumbles). – She knows even more than I do, actually. – [Man] Oh yeah, okay, that’s awesome. I hope my crew understands
that, thank you. – Let’s move on to talking about writing a melody. We’ve talked a little
bit about that already. We’ve talked about tension
and resolution, right? Tension meaning a note … If I’m gonna play a song like … (sings melody) Does that need to be finished? Where does that need to go? (singing) Does it sound good if I go here? (singing melody) If I stayed on that tension, you’re gonna be like, what, we don’t know why, but it
wants to come down, right? So looking for that kind
of thing in your melodies. Tension and resolutions. You hear them in a million
songs all over the place. It’s everywhere. These are things that
we were talking about, like the brain, mind. Why does the mind like this stuff? There’s a whole like, physics
thing behind all of that. Like what pitches are
attractive to the human mind. It’s super cool and complex and weird and we don’t have to
get into any of that but it exists. – [Man] When you’re in the
creative zone in buses, does this actually come to you? Are you thinking, are
they gonna know that one? Or is it more like after … If it sticks for you,
then you kind of know it will resonate with
other people and all that? – Yeah. – But even you listening to it now, I was about to talk about that song that one the best song of the year. – Oh. ♪ Take me into your lovin’ arms ♪ – Right, it’s that Ed Sheerhan one. (mumbling lyrics) Right, if Ed Sheerhan or
if Chrissi in this case stays on … ♪ Take me into your loving arms ♪ Something like that. It doesn’t quite … (singing monotone) ‘Cause she’s here and the chords should be there. You should come back home. It’s sort of like a way to think of that. It’s resolve. It’s resolving the tension. Even though the Alabama Shakes record, D minor, I’m playing … (singing unknown lyrics) – ♪ I don’t wanna fight no no more ♪ It’s gotta come back down ♪ Don’t wanna fight no more ♪ – If she stayed on (hums melody) … – It’s not as cool. – It kind of leaves you hanging. So you want it to resolve to something. It doesn’t have to be (hums melody). It could be, ♪ Don’t wanna fight no more ♪ ♪ Don’t wanna fight no more ♪ Could be that. That’s one way of resolving and we’re getting into
a little more musically technical things here, but
there are certain notes in a scale as you’re
singing and playing a song that are leaving you hanging
and you wanna finish them and there are certain ones
that make you feel like it’s resolved, whether
or not you’re a musician. Like when you’re hearing that right now, I think you know what I’m talking about, even if you don’t play an instrument, your ear is gonna hear that as man, something needs to happen, something more needs to happen. – Yeah, it’s in your
body, it’s in your gut. Music existed before
we evolved into people. Music was always a part of the universe and so we just tapped into
something that was already there, but this stuff, that tension
and that release stuff, you’re gonna feel it. You don’t have to study that
in music school to know. You’re gonna know when something’s off. You know when something’s out of tune. You just know it. And so you can break down
in the stuff of like why and whatever, and that’s cool. Definitely do that. The more you know the better, but ultimately know that
this stuff is in you already, it’s just figuring it out. – [Woman] That’s like
whenever you hear a good hook or a good chorus and
then when it resolves, when it like, finishes, you can feel that feeling in your gut? – Sure. – [Woman] Oh my God, it feels so good. – Yep, absolutely. – The songwriter was thinking of you when they wrote that song,
you know what I mean? – That’s one of the magic moments of creating a song is
being able to do that. That’s what you wanna do. Because we touched on
that Ed Sheerhan song, you know, we’ve laughed
about this a little bit. We’ll talk about this a little bit more as time goes on in this workshop, but you wanna be careful
when you’re writing. It’s a fine line because
every chord and every note has been used. And everything has been said, okay? Let’s get that all out there now. Okay so maybe it could
even go so far as to say nothing is original. I’ve heard people say that. I don’t really wanna believe that because I think there’s
always more to be created, but this Ed Sheerhan song, for example. ♪ Take me into your loving arms ♪ ♪ (Mumbling lyrics) ♪ ♪ (Mumbling lyrics) my beating heart ♪ Tell me if you know this. ♪ I’ve been really trying baby ♪ ♪ Trying to hold back these
feelings for so long ♪ You know that song? – [Woman] Yeah. – Okay. – [Man] Wow. – Is it the same thing? No. – It’s kind of up to interpretation. – This is a tough one. – [Man] The answer is yes. – Right, well yeah. – But let me explain to you– – [Woman] One leads to the other, how about that? – Let me explain to you
why in a court of law they would lose that case, right? – Unfortunately. – It’s a drag. It sucks. But the thing is that what you’re hearing that’s the same is this, (playing chords) Right? Chord progression. – This is going back to what
I was alluding to before about what constitutes a song. – Right. – You have the melody and the lyric. When she plays that on the piano, you’re hearing the chords and rhythm. It has nothing to do with
the melody and the lyric. – You can’t win that legally. – So in a court of law, Ed Sheerhan didn’t do anything wrong. – Right. – Whoever wrote the song, I don’t know if he wrote it or somebody else wrote
it for him or whatever, but technically they have not committed any kind of crime. – But the thing is that
we as listeners hear it and we think, that’s wack. That’s lame, he stole that vibe. He can get away with it though. So all we’re trying to encourage you to do is be careful when you walk that line when you’re writing music, it might remind you of something. You can’t steal a melody and you can’t steal a lyrical line, but you wanna be careful
of where you’re going. – By the same token though, we would be lying to you if we said that there weren’t things
that we’ve come up with in the last 15 years of writing songs that were like, man that
sounds a little like that other song that we like. That’s okay. – It’s okay. – That’s going to happen. – It’s a line you gotta waltz. – You’re definitely going to “steal” but not really steal,
you know what I mean? – [Man] Inspired. – It’s gonna happen. – Lets get some questions. – [Man] Can you play
with that intentionally, like for example, The Weeknd, ♪ In the night she hears him calling ♪ ♪ Billie Jean is not my lover ♪ – It’s similar, very similar. – [Man] (mumbles). – Interesting, what’s the tune
that has the same bassline? No, before Billie Jean. – You talking about the buh buh? – That’s Billie Jean but it’s also– – Yeah, but before that. – [Man] You talking about Beat It? – No, it’s a different artist. It’s not the same, it’s close though. – Very close. – Yeah, it’s um– – Is it Bootsie Collins? – No, shoot, I don’t remember. I’ll think of it. – Somebody before Michael. – Anyway, that bassline
that’s in Billie Jean is also a familiar bassline
from something else. Go ahead. – [Woman] I was also gonna
give another example of that. So like Green Day’s Basketcase, it’s also Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. – Yes, there’s a reason
why they can do that. Because I believe, after
a certain amount of years, certain music is considered
what they call public domain. Billie Joel has a bunch of songs that he actually borrowed
from classical pieces. The credit in the liner
notes credit Beethoven for a song that’s on
(mumbles) called This Night. It’s a beautiful song. It’s the same chord
structure and the same melody as Beethoven’s Passionata piece and he doesn’t have to pay any money to the Beethoven Estate
because it’s considered public domain at this point. – That is an interesting
example you brought up because you can, you know, lets say you wanna write songs, but
you’re not particularly a musical person in that you don’t really play an instrument but you
knew that that was a Canon. You knew that the Green
Day song was a Canon. You could start with the idea of I’m gonna write lyrics
and melody to a Canon, you know, to something
that is public domain. I can work with these chords: For those of you that don’t know that, those are the chords that make up that Green Day song and
also Pachibel’s Canon from I don’t know how many
centuries before that. – A million years. – Right, so lets say you feel like you’re more of a lyrical writer or you wanna focus on just
the melody and the lyric but you want to make sure your chords don’t run the risk of sounding like that Ed Sheerhan tune, you may wanna start
there and work with that. – Exactly. Another example of– – Blues. I’m sorry. – No, no, that’s okay. That’s a great point. The whole genre of the
blues and what that is, that goes back a long time. Do you guys ever study or
hear about Robert Johnson? He’s considered one of the
founding fathers of the blues. This goes back real far, like
20’s and 30’s, deep stuff. Through that genre, so many
other things were born. Many things were stolen, credit not given. The music industry is plagued
with tons of stuff like that. An example of an artist who
has had huge pop success by taking public domain
cuts and sampling them and building beats and
music around them is Moby. Are you guys familiar with Moby? So Moby had this song that went: ♪ Oh Lordy, my trouble so high ♪ Know this one? ♪ Oh Lordy, my trouble so high ♪ ♪ Don’t nobody know my trouble but God ♪ ♪ Don’t nobody know my trouble but God ♪ And it keeps going. – It was all over the
radio maybe 15 years ago. – Does that sound familiar to you guys? It was a huge, huge hit. Massive, huge, unbelievable. That is an old blues spiritual song that he found in a record bin somewhere that had never been used or sampled and he pulled it out, sampled it, built a musical beat around it, built piano around it,
and because the sample was considered public domain, he didn’t have to pay
rights to another person. He collected all the money for that song and that record went on to
sell like 30 million copies. – [Man] Just to add on
to what you were saying– – Yes. – [Man] Barbara told me last semester that in that situation
it goes public domain, lifetime of the artist plus 75 years, so say I’m the artist,
it would be my lifetime, after I die, it’s 75 years later. – Right, yeah. – [Man] Mumbles. – Right, and if it hasn’t
been that much time, you gotta give the songwriting
credit to the other guy. – And monetary too. Yes? – [Man] So I just wanna
make sure I got this clear. Chords are basically the
noise that the guitar makes. – Yeah, these are chords. – [Man] And then the way
you play then would be in a sense, the rhythm. – Yeah, I mean, I could play like, different rhythm. Melody is (hums melody). ♪ Let’s get it on ♪ That’s the melody, right? – [Man] So the melody is basically the rhythm for the lyrics. The rhythm of the chords is
like the melody for the lyrics? – The melody is essentially
just a lead line that the singer is singing, you know? Just whatever the singer is singing, if it’s a pop song, is it vocal? (hums melody) That’s the melody. Whatever the singer is singing. You know what I mean? Yeah, that’s it. Like Ari was saying earlier, it’s the melody and the
lyrics that you can copyright. Those you can say, those are mine. That’s where you wanna watch out that you didn’t steal it from someone else. There was a big case this year of … (humming melody) ♪ Oh won’t you stay with me ♪ – Sam Smith. You guys notice that one, right? – And it also is, ♪ No I won’t back down ♪ – [Man] Melody. – Tom Petty. Tom Petty melody, straight away. No way, he lost that battle and had to pay Tom Petty
who knows how much money. – Right, so in that case, just real quick, I remember reading that Sam Smith claimed that he had never heard
the Petty tune before and Tom Petty was nice
about it and was like, okay, you never heard my song, fine, just give me credit, and he did. And that was that. Sam Smith gave Tom Petty the credit. – He had to pay him. – He had to pay him a fortune. – Yeah. – And that was that. It doesn’t always work out that pretty. – Yeah, that was a straight rip. There was no way. Yes? – [Man] (mumbles) Tom Petty
himself was actually unaware, that he was informed by his
legal department (mumbles) litigating. – Right, he probably didn’t hear the song until it got on the radio. – He probably wasn’t
listening to the top 40. As soon as I heard it, I
was like, get outta here. There’s no way they’re
gonna get away with this. – But then you also had the Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke incident, which actually caused a huge upset because truly that Marvin Gaye song … You guys know the Robin Thicke
song we’re talking about? Blurred Lines, right? That actual song, that Marvin Gaye song, ♪ I like to go out to party ♪ (Mumbles lyrics) Right? That melody was not in
the Robin Thicke song. – [Man] Not at all. – It wasn’t at all. The vibe was the same though. There was this like, cowbell stuff and party noises. – [Woman] Yeah, but you can’t count that. – See, that’s the thing. – That’s arrangement. – That’s the thing. That’s why it was a big upset. – Right, this is where it got super tricky because the verdict was not in our opinion, and a
lot of people’s opinion, was not what it should have been because technically the guy, yes, he totally caught the vibe, not unlike Ed Sheerhan
with this other tune that we were talking about. He didn’t take any lyric and
he didn’t take any melody. – Right, yet they still won the court case and the Marvin Gaye estate had to be paid by Robin Thicke and as an artist, as a musician, and a lover of Marvin Gaye I was like, sweet, screw you Robin Thicke, but legally it’s kind of– – It’s opening the door
for a lot of stuff that– – It’s opening a can of worms. – Yeah, could be very tricky. – [Man] You just said sometimes these things don’t end as nicely. With the Uptown Funk thing, right? – Yeah. – That really went,
like people didn’t even hear what happened with that song, and that ended really nice because now it went from having two songwriters to having 11, right? – Yeah. – [Man] And it was funny
because when I heard … As soon as I heard Uptown
Funk, I knew why I liked it. – Yeah. – [Man] And I couldn’t decide which period I was listening to. Like, was it Minneapolis
or was it New York, right? But when I heard the hook again, and then I remembered
Oops Upside Your Head, somebody else did too, and like I said, it went from two songwriters to 11. But nobody really even heard
that that had happened. – Yeah it kind of like, it didn’t make a lot of mainstream news. – [Man] And that song is like, gigantic, but nobody … It was nice, it wasn’t
like the Sam Smith thing. I agree with you, I was like, why are people thinking this is like the greatest thing ever? You don’t like Tom Petty,
how could you do that? – Yeah, and there was
enough of a decades gap too that 12, 13, 14, 18, 22 year olds may not have known that Tom Petty song because we’re far enough
from that Petty song that it’s not on mainstream radio anymore. – [Man] You go to parents. – I know, right? The Uptown Funk thing was
an interesting thing too. I heard that and I was
like, ugh Gap Band, right? Rick James, come on. And a lot of the younger generations is thinking that this is a new thing, so it’s important as a songwriter, as a creator of music to know if something it hot and it’s out and it’s new, like know
where it’s being pulled from. If you wanna create
something contemporary, know where you’re pulling from. Study the guys and the
gals whose shoulders we’re standing on. And they stood on people’s shoulders too. It’s the more knowledge
you have of this stuff, the better your material is gonna be and the less likely it’s gonna sound like a watered down rip-off of
something awesome from the past, which is what you don’t wanna have happen. Go ahead. – [Man] He said there were 11 songwriters, (mumbles) now most songs are
written by so much people as compared to before. – That’s a great question. – [Man] Do you think there
was other people included before they just (mumbles) or– – It’s pretty simple in that like, lets talk about maybe the 70’s, okay? It was a great decade
for singer/songwriters. Guys and gals with guitars, guys and gals with pianos. Simple, okay? Bands even too. Eagles, there was a lot
of great songwriting stuff happening at that time. Coming out of the 60’s
when the singer/songwriter became the thing. You know, before the 60’s,
it was like, you know, 1950’s into early 60’s it was these guys in this building in New York
called the Brill Building that were writing songs and writing hits to turn over to artists. Artists weren’t writing their own songs. Carole King wrote ♪ Will you still love me tomorrow ♪ In the Brill building and handed
that over to the Shirelles. That’s how it worked. When the songwriters started
writing their own songs at the bitter end, Bob Dylan,
Toni Mitchell, whatever, then it became the thing, like, artists write their own songs, okay. It was simplified then. There wasn’t a ton of production, not like we have now. There wasn’t Protools, there was no Logic, there was none of that stuff. It was simple. It was instruments and
some chords and music and the songwriters were
writing their own songs, maybe one or two together. Let’s fast forward to today. We have so many tools. We have so much production tool, right? We’ve got these incredible programs. Who works on Logic or
Garageband or whatever? You know, you can do this
stuff by your phone now. It’s amazing. So you take somebody like Beyonce, let’s say, Beyonce is a songwriter. She writes words and she writes melodies. But when she goes into the studio, all those people that are working the production with her that are in there creating the palate that
will be the song … Let’s talk about Crazy in Love, okay? Crazy in Love was a sample
from, was it the (mumbles)? It’s a drum beat sample. Right there you’ve got writers
that have to be credited. You’ve got Beyonce that’s credited. You’ve got the other producers that are in the room creating. Whatever they’re doing on that track, they’re getting songwriter credit. It’s a different format now. The pop artist thing is
just a different format because of the time. – [Man] I don’t know if you know the song, Beautiful Girls, by Sean Kingston? – I don’t know that song. – [Man] I think they samples Stand By Me. – Oh really. – I noticed it literally like last week. – Probably went to credit
as the writer (mumbles) The other thing to mention
about the songwriting and what constitutes
you being a songwriter, in some cases it can literally be changing one word in the song. If I came to Chrissi and said, I’ve got this song and I think it’s great and she’s like, you could
change the word great to excellent in your song. – That’ll be 10% of your song please. – 50%. – You can, yeah. – Technically she’s
allowed 50% for just that. – You can claim that. – If I decide to take her suggestion, which is my call. – So lets go back to the
example with Beyonce. She’s in a room with
her people and her crew and her producers and she
brings them in a platform and someone says that, well I think this word’s gonna work better
there, and she’s cool with it, boom, writer credit. That’s why you see all these people … It’s a different approach
now than it used to be. The music business was a bit more of a loving environment years ago– – Yes, but you do hear some
bad stories even from the 70’s like the Graceland Paul Simon record. You hear about all the African musicians who created these amazing textures and how they should have been credited, but apparently there was a
lot of legal documentation that before the songs were even done, Paul Simon made sure that those guys were not gonna get songwriting credit. There was just this whole
other side to things that a lot of the public doesn’t
know about unfortunately. It happens quite often. – Yeah, for sure. Lets talk a little bit
about words as we go on. Lyric writing. Everybody here is familiar
with writing lyrics? You all write a little bit here and there, whether it’s poetry, lyrics, words, if maybe you’re just getting started? What’s the most common thing, I have this written on the paper, that we do with the
words when we’re writing lyrics to poetry? The most common thing? – [Man] Rhyme. – Right. Rhyming. Okay, it makes a song memorable, it makes it easier to digest. You’re always gonna hear it in songs. There’s very few songs
that don’t have rhymes as an example, okay? – As far as rhyming,
you don’t have to rhyme the end of a phrase, it could be something in the middle. It could be something at the
very beginning of a line. It doesn’t have to be, won’t you stay with me, you’re all I need, you know, the E’s. Yes, that is the rhyme, but
it doesn’t have to be there. You could put it somewhere else, but either way, it’s a lyrical hook to do something like that. – Piggy backing on the Tom Petty example with the Sam Smith example, that chorus, I won’t back down, I won’t back down, (mumbles) pushing me around, won’t back down. So he went down, down, round, down. That’s a real great hook. That’s an example of repeating your first lines a couple of times to solidify your point, bringing in a rhyming word, and then ending it with
that first point again. There’s so much that can be talked about about lyric writing. There’s so many things between metaphors and (mumbles) and vowels and iambic, just so much. If you want a really
great piece of material to work with in learning
more about lyric writing, I highly recommend this book. It’s called Writing Better Lyrics. It’s written by Pat Pattison. I’ve read it 10 times. I read it once every couple of years. It’s a great tool to have in your arsenal. It’s gonna help you jog your mind of things to think of. Yeah? – [Man] Sorry, is that a book as well? The Artist’s Way? – This is another book, yeah, that we wanted to
recommend to you as well. Yeah, and we’ll tell you about it. For lyrics, definitely check this out. Writing Better Lyrics. You can download them now. They may have them at Barnes and Noble, any kind of bookstore. Easy to order on Amazon.com. Does anybody have any
other questions about lyrics or words? Since it’s such a broad topic, I’d love to zone in on some stuff that you’re specifically
maybe thinking about in your lyric writing, if any. – Maybe we can get into
avoiding cliche’s a bit and talk about that because that’s also a very common thing, even for us. Well, maybe I’ll just
talk about myself first, but like I said, usually a musical idea will come first to me and
then the next thing out I’ll start to try to write lyrics and generally it’s cliche after cliche. If I look back and I’m like, man, this has been said a million times. I need to find an angle. So let’s talk a little
bit about the angle. – I can give you a
personal example of mine that I recently worked on and then maybe Ari will give
a personal example of his. I played you a little piece of a music a little while ago that went like this … The name of that song
is called Lonely Light. That is my lyrical hook. I was trying to think about it, like have I heard that term before? Have I heard the term lonely light before? Maybe it’s out there, I’m not sure. It wasn’t coming to my mind. I liked it because of the double L, the lonely and the light, right? What’s that called? – [Everyone] Alliteration. – Thank you. Alliteration is a fantastic tool to use that we use it all the time. To take an object and to find a word to describe your object. I heard a line recently in a song where a woman was being described
as having credit card eyes. I thought that was really cool. Like I’ve never heard those
two things put together. Finding things like that, finding ways to describe something that’s different from the same old way that we always hear it. Little bits here and there in your song could be really helpful. – They don’t have to be
complex words either. – Not at all. – And sometimes you can think about, I mean I just thought of
that Beatles song, Yesterday, again, and the I believe in yesterday, that is something that everybody can understand what that means, but it’s not really a cliche, you know? It’s not something that you hear everyday, but it is something that like immediately people are like, ah man,
I know what that means. You’re looking for stuff like that. You’re looking for lines. You’re trying to come up with lines that have a whole lot of
meaning and sound familiar, not unlike the music too, you’re trying to come up with stuff that sounds kind of familiar, but still has an originality to it. If you said, I believe in you, that’s a cliche. That’s kind of like obvious, probably don’t wanna do too much of that, but if you have an angle of I believe in something that, you know, fill in the word that kind of makes it a little more interesting. In that case, he made it
yesterday and it made sense. – That’s a good one and it’s a tough one because I believe in has
been done a bunch of times. – I believe in miracles. – I believe in you and me. – Yeah, right, exactly. – There’s a bunch, so finding a new way to say something that’s been said before is a great exercise in
expanding your lyrical palate. Any other thoughts or
questions on lyric writing before we move on to … Yeah? – [Man] Copyrighting? – Yeah, you wanna copyright
your stuff for sure. There’s several ways to do it. The old school way is sending it into the Library of Congress– – Which is still a
recommended thing to do, but my understanding of it is that as soon as you make a recording– – Which everybody can do now. – Right, of your song, then technically you have a legal– – You have proof. – An imprint like you did this. If somebody came along and said that they created your song, you have that, as long as
it has like a date on it, but the way you’re supposed to do it is get a form from the Library of Congress and you can have one form for 10 songs or one form for one song and then you send it in
and there’s a small fee associated with it, but then it’s there and that’s like the foolproof way, you’re definitely not gonna
have a problem with that. – I would say at this point
you don’t need to worry or stress about doing that
too much at this point. It’s kind of a lot of work and it costs money and stuff. If you could make everybody
have a recording device on their smartphone or
something on a laptop or even at the college
there’s probably ways to, in the library or
something you can record. You can make a voice memo. There’s a new app that just
came out called Music Memos. It’s really good for making
little quick voice memos. – I’d also recommend that
if you’re writing lyrics and you’re co-writing with somebody or you’re sharing them, just make sure your name and the date you
wrote it is on top of the thing just in case. You just wanna be safe and
take little steps like that just to make it clear
whose stuff is whose. Again, when you are
co-writing with somebody, and I gave that example
of her changing one word, she is allowed 50% of the song
for changing that one word. If she’s a nice person, she will say, you know what, I only wrote that one word, I’m only gonna take 2% of the song, which also happens very often, but you have a lot of people who are like, nope, I’m taking 50%. Legally they’re allowed to. – It depends on the deal. – [Man] Don’t you have to
sign a contract that says that she wrote that word, though? – It doesn’t really matter
that there’s a contract that says that she wrote
that word, necessarily. It’s just that, if
there’s an understanding that there’s two writers,
immediately it’s 50/50 unless you guys work it out and then have a contract that says she
entitled to 6% or whatever. You have to make up that
contract in that situation and every situation is different and it really kind of
depends on the person you’re writing with, whether they’re gonna be cool about it or not. We’ve both written quite a
few songs with other people and generally it is
50/50, but occasionally a situation comes along where you’re like, man, I wrote a lot of that, or, you know what, I didn’t
really do much of this, I’m just gonna take a tiny bit. – Yeah, it’s subjective. Yeah? – [Woman] What if like, in that situation, and then the song that you guys write that she put one word in and that song becomes really big and
at first she’s just like, oh, I’ll just get 2%
but then after she saw that it becomes big– – That’s why you want to get
everything in writing up front because if I did agree to
that and then it became my huge hit and I agreed to only take 2% when I could have had 50, it legally wouldn’t hold up in court. – [Man] So you two have a written contract with each other before you guys start– – Yeah, it’s called being married. – [Man] Oh what? Really? [Laughing] – You’re right, I should
have these contracts– – [Man] I’ve been blowing
kisses the whole time. You guys are (mumbles). – We have a project. I wrote a song (mumbles) and I agreed that I’m gonna give him half of the credit for it because we’re in a group together. McCartney and Lennon did that. There’s so many songs
that Paul McCartney wrote that John Lennon didn’t write, but they agreed that
everything’s split 50/50. That was their deal. – [Man] But generally speaking, before you start working with anyone, you wanna have some kind of written something? – I don’t think it’s
something you have to say like before you even start, but I think by the end
of the day of writing, or the hours that you put in with them, it is a good idea to just like, hey man, let’s just get this
straight right off the bat. It seems like we’ve been doing
this together the whole time, so lets’ just, this is 50/50, right, cool? And then once you have that understanding, if you wanna put it in
writing, it’s a good idea, if you don’t do that,
then all you really have is their word in that moment and again, if they only wrote one word to the song, legally, it’s 50/50. – Really quick, I know
we’re running out of time for this first session, so
we wanted to ask you guys if you guys are into this for the next time we meet, we want to give you guys an opportunity to apply some of the stuff that we’ve talked about
today and write something. If anybody wants to volunteer to show it, next time you can. You don’t have to, but we thought we would give you a phrase to work with. We decided the phrase is going to be, Time Is Gone. So if you wanna make a
note of time is gone– – [Man] (mumbles). – It’s not on there. We just thought of it. Write it down. If you need pencils, here’s
a pencil you can pass around. Put it in your phone, whatever you want. And again, this is not mandatory. If you’re not feeling
it, don’t worry about it. If you want to, take this phrase and write something around it. It could be a verse and a chorus. It could be an entire song. This could be the title of your song. This could just be a line
in your song somewhere. – It could also be something
that simply inspires music and you don’t even write lyrics to it. Whatever it is that you
can make of that, great. Bring it in next month,
share them if you want. We’ll talk about it a little more. In the meantime, she wrote
down a couple different books there, she mentioned one of them. The other one, you wanna
give just a quick line about that other one? – Yeah, about the Artist’s Way? – Yeah, the Artist’s Way. – The Artist’s Way is
a great recommendation for a book that any
creative person should just have in their library. I have it right here. This is an incredible tool to keep your creative brain flowing because sometimes when you wake up and you know you should
be creating something and you just like, can’t get a jump, you need something you
knock you in the head and get you going. – It’s a muscle. – It is. – You’re exercising a
muscle when you’re writing, so it’s absolutely something that the more you do it, the
easier it kind of gets to get going into it. The more you kind of learn what strengths and weaknesses you have and where you have to grow. And if you don’t exercise it, you’re not gonna get much better. – So having a book like this is something that you will refer to on and off again maybe your whole life. I’ve had this in my life for 15 years, I’ll have it in my life forever. Definitely check it out. – [Man] Have you guys (mumbles) Pat Pattison’s Songwriting
Without Boundaries? – Yes, also great. – [Man] Do you feel
like it comes naturally in your writing now after
working on it for so long? – It’s something that I apply it for me personally because I worked with him when I was in college. He was a teacher of mine. So I learned that right away and that’s always sort
of been in my psyche. That’s another great one,
Songwriting Without Boundaries. – [Man] When is the next workshop? The date for the next workshop? – The date of the next
workshop is March 16. I believe it’s the same time, same place. – Yeah. – I’m sure you guys will
have questions as we go on, even if you think of
things during the month, you can either ask us that day, or we both are reachable through email if you have specific
songwriting questions. We’re happy to give
you our email addresses if you want any kind of advice. – Are there any other
questions that you guys have, or thoughts, before we wrap up today? – [Man] Where did you guys go to school. – I went to Berklee
College of Music in Boston and studied there for three years before I moved to New York. – I went to NYU and didn’t
study music in school, but came from a musical family. – [Man] I was gonna who
you recommended for music but you said you didn’t– – For music schools? – [Man] Yeah, no I was gonna
ask if you would recommend NYU for music, but he didn’t take– – Clive Davis School of Music. We have people that we
know that work there and it’s a great program over there. We can talk a lot about
that next time too. – [Man] Bandcamp and
Instagram all that stuff? – Absolutely. – I’ll write our stuff down on the board, so as you guys are
gathering, take it down. Thank you guys so much. (applause)